2018 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.4

The 2018 Chevy Malibu Hybrid delivers the outstanding fuel economy you’d expect from a hybrid, but a level of performance that you might not. It's not the most athletic car in the class, but it has enough agility that it can be enjoyable to drive. It also provides quick acceleration and a smooth ride over most road surfaces.

  • "But if truly great fuel economy is your thing, check out the Malibu Hybrid. It's a huge improvement compared to [the] previous version, delivering around 45 mpg in combined city/highway driving and a high enough level of refinement that just about any sedan shopper will find it appealing." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "We had a brief drive time in the hybrid and found it almost like the un-hybrid: Except for the badging, you would be hard pressed to find many dissimilarities from the standard drivetrain models." -- Left Lane News (2016)
  • "In an entirely unscientific and short test loop, we saw 44 mpg indicated on the car's trip computer. This at least suggests that getting close to the EPA numbers … is possible." -- Autoblog (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors power the Malibu Hybrid. They combine to produce 182 horsepower, and the powertrain is paired with an automatic transmission. Acceleration is quick and smooth, and overall power is adequate. The Malibu Hybrid also stands out from its peers by delivering better gas mileage than many midsize hybrids. According to Chevrolet's estimates, it earns 49 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway.

  • "The powertrain to get, though, might very well be the hybrid. Its smooth, quiet and surprisingly quick acceleration is more akin to an EV than other hybrids such as the Toyota Camry, as it relies more on its electric motor than its gasoline engine. When the engine does come on, it's relatively unobtrusive unless you're flooring the gas or chugging up a steep grade." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "It's been awhile since we've driven other hybrid mid-size sedans, but our impression is that the Malibu has stronger and more frequent electric-only running. That's a good thing." -- Yahoo Autos (2016)
  • "Chevy says the car can get to 55 mph without firing the engine, but that presumes ideal circumstances of weather and road conditions and driver behavior. What we saw was that it motors around a parking lot just fine unless you get goofy with the go pedal." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Malibu Hybrid isn't as athletic as the Mazda6 or Ford Fusion, but it has more agility than some midsize cars. The ride is smooth, even over rough pavement. The regenerative brakes feel like normal brakes, which is nice because some hybrids' brakes feel grabby.

  • "We also like that the Hybrid's brake pedal feels progressive and natural. Whichever powertrain you select, the Malibu possesses a newfound nimbleness that makes it at least mildly entertaining to drive. Even the Hybrid is surprisingly light on its feet. Ride quality also remains a Malibu strength, with most bumps and ruts getting expertly filtered out before they reach the cabin. There might be a bit more interior noise than before, but this is still a fundamentally quiet car." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Ride and handling also mirror those of the gas cars. The steering has minimal feedback and decent weight, while the suspension manages lumpy pavement without any old-GM float. Like the rest of the lineup, it has a comfortable overall attitude." -- Autoblog (2016)
  • "Borrowed from the Volt, the Malibu's braking system seamlessly blends the braking done by the motor-turned-generator and the disc brakes. They feel linear and normal, which can't be said of many other hybrids." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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